We remember … We honor …
Historians remind us all the Civil War which ended in 1865 claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the first national cemetery. Citizens then began holding tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and gathering for prayers. Originally called “Decoration Day,” the nationwide observation was changed to “Memorial Day” by an act of Congress, which became effective in 1971.
Over the years communities across the nation host a variety of activities to commemorate the tradition of honoring the valor of soldiers who willingly fought for our freedom, many making the ultimate sacrifice. Now, on the last Monday of May, a national holiday brings people together for parades including military personnel and artillery, local bands and crowds lining parade routes, ending with picnics at the parade site or backyards with grills and the aroma of delicious treats wafting where the wind goes.
An incredibly special day, it gives us all some time to remember, mourn and honor those who made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms everyone deserves. As amplified in the Holy Bible in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” For many, Memorial Day is very personal because of the loved ones lost in their unselfish service to our country. We owe these fallen soldiers a debt we can never repay, as is known in our native language, utang na loob.
As we visit the graves at the veteran cemeteries, display American flags at our homes and have a barbecue with our families and friends at our favorite beach or someone’s backyard, let us all take a moment to offer genuine prayers to remember and honor all who have sacrificed for us. Perhaps the most meaningful way to honor our fallen heroes is to respect and extend love to our fellow human beings. Let us find many ways to help others, to be willing to reach beyond in kindness to the many less fortunate.
The ravages of war always results in pain and suffering for the people whose lives are endangered. Let us make a conscientious effort to pray for the refugees around the world and when possible, send them goods, services and funds for their needs in desperate times. As every soldier knows, freedom is not free and all people who want freedom of choice must fight for it, too. In a world that yearns for peace, let us help each other to be at peace within our hearts in our daily sharing and caring for each other.
Never forgotten … We Honor and We Remember …